Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A vow to stay "friends till the end" takes on new meaning for a group of four high school juniors when one of them, Kit, the daughter of an alcoholic, is hit with a double whammy: unplanned pregnancy and possible exposure to AIDS. Ever-loyal Elaine, Mia and Megan take turns soothing Kit's physical ailments and sagging spirits, but it is Megan, the narrator, who takes her responsibilities most seriously and is most profoundly affected by Kit's ordeal. As tenderly wrought as Hobbs's first novel, How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadn't Called You Back?, this intense drama conveys hard-hitting messages about casual sex and commitment. Although the author's orchestration of events is rather obvious in its design as a forum for different opinions on the subject, she successfully shows several points of view through a wide range of characters, including Megan's no-nonsense nurse mother (dubbed The General) and the yuppie couple wanting to adopt Kit's baby. In the end, it is left to readers to decide whether the teenage mother's decision to keep her child makes for a happy ending or a tragic beginning to another saga. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
When 13-year-old Meg and her three friends, Kit, Elaine, and Mia, swear to remain "friends to the end," they do not realize how challenging this vow will become as they mature and their problems become more adult. Now, in their junior year of high school, Meg, with some help from Elaine and Mia, must juggle school, a boyfriend and family with her efforts to care for troubled, immature Kit, who is going through a difficult, unplanned pregnancy. The characters are varied, interesting and believable, and the uncertain future of Kit and her baby is realistic and thought provoking. The book manages to combine many aspects of the problem novel with the strong character growth of a coming-of-age novel and the dynamics of a story about friendship.
The ALAN Review - Judy Stoffel
This novel chronicles several months in the lives of four 16-year-old California girls who have vowed to be "friends to the end." Kit is in the last stages of a difficult pregnancy, forced to stay in bed. Her unreliable, bar-keep mother is not available to help, so the friends step in, taking shifts to keep Kit company and do housework, while trying to maintain their own relationships and schoolwork. Things do not run smoothly. Megan, the narrator, is a super-responsible teen whose mother is the opposite of Kit's and whom Megan has labeled "the General." The book tries to give both sides of the sex education/condom-distribution controversy by making Megan a reporter on the school paper, doing a teen pregnancy story. She interviews bewildered peers and opinionated adults on the topic, but the question remains open to continued debate. Teen readers will recognize familiar and trying situations in this book, which tries to support responsible teen sexual behavior without being preachy.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10When dependent, needy Kit announces her pregnancy and toxemia to her three best friends, the high-school juniors work out a rotation plan of caring for her since her mother is rarely home. The story is narrated by Megan, whose stable family life provides counterpoint, and whose journalistic instincts are piqued by Kit's plight to explore attitudes about birth control, abortion, teen pregnancy, parenting, and STDs for the school newspaper. Megan has to hide her caregiving efforts from her mother, who has restricted her association with Kit. A pair of wealthy yuppies appear out of nowhere to offer material comforts in exchange for the baby until the teen father is diagnosed as HIV-positive. School authorities squelch Megan's article. Kit's emergency delivery catalyzes everyone into action, including the girl's mother, who plans to sell her bar and open a baby clothing store. Underdeveloped characters, overabundance of issues, and improbability of events swamp the story line. Kit's selfish lethargy leaves one wondering why her friends bother with her. The novel's primary agenda is to explore attitudes and consequences of teenage sexuality, but censorship and first-amendment rights are also addressed. In Marilyn Reynold's Detour for Emmy (Morning Glory, 1993) or Berlie Doherty's Dear Nobody (Orchard, 1992), issues are humanized through strong writing and passionate, believable characters. Hobbs's book is formulaic, predictable, and lacking in genuine emotion.Alice Casey Smith, Sayreville War Memorial High School, NJ
Hobbs (How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadn't Called You Back?, 1995) takes on a sheaf of hot topics in this soapy, overstuffed tale of three friends helping a fourth who has a penchant for making bad choices.
When Kit announces that she's four months pregnant and has to stay in bed, Megan, Mia, and Elaine rally around. For the privilege of waiting on her passive, fretful friend, Megan cuts class, sneaks out at night, and lies to her parents, while also fending off the physical advances of her boyfriend, fixing up Mia with her older brother, writing an inflammatory article (much of it quoted) for the school newspaper on safe and unsafe sex, engaging in a one-sided debate on the availability of condoms at school, and learning that the baby's football-hero father is HIV- positive. Amid much soul-searching, Megan becomes celebrated for defiantly distributing copies of her article after it is axed, and gets Kit to the hospital when she collapses. The baby is delivered, but between her manipulative mother and boozy grandmother, her future looks bleak. Having given the father what he deserves, Hobbs parks him on the sidelines and gives Kit short shrift, too, as Megan, Mia, and Elaine float off to the prom. Some food for thought, dished out with a heavy hand.